The Italian Civil Code obliges companies and business owners, with the exception of small business owners, to keep accounts.
A business owner, whether a company or an individual, is required to record day-to-day operations relating to the business activity. For this purpose, he must keep and update various accounting books.
A business owner must keep:
- the daybook, which shows day-to-day operations relating to company transactions;
- the book inventory To be drawn up at the beginning of the year and each year thereafter. It contains the indication and evaluation of the company’s assets and liabilities;
- the optional correspondence file, which includes invoices, letters and telegrams, both sent and received.
The accounting books can be held directly by the taxpayer at the locations where the work is carried out (registered office, administrative office, branch office, etc..) or at the offices of other parties (accountants, data processing centres, etc.).
In addition to the accounting books expected by the Civil Code and the provisions on direct taxes, there are other documents which the business owner is expected to keep, in accordance with the VAT legislation. For this purpose, he will need to keep:
- the register of invoices issued;
- the considerations register (in the case of retailers);
- the register of purchase invoices.
There is no longer need to initially stamp or endorse these registers, but they must simply be numbered sequentially before being put into use.
From 2012, taxpayers who are not in the ordinary accounting system, that is, businesses and companies with the exception of limited liability companies, can take advantage of the procedure of facilitated accounting. They will be exempt from the maintenance of the relevant accounting records for the income tax purposes, IRAP (Regional Tax on Productive Activities) and the maintenance of the register of depreciable assets.
Management of accounts is usually carried out by accounting experts. The Camere di Commercio (Chambers of Commerce) are, in this respect, a reference point for business owners.
Keeping and storing documents
With regard to the journal and book inventory, the records shall be held in accordance with the rules of orderly accounting, without blanks and without entries in the margins.
The accounting records and statutory books must be kept for ten years for accounting purposes and for tax purposes, until the investigations relating to the corresponding tax periods have been carried out.
All records and documents relevant both for statutory purposes and for the purposes of tax provisions, can be stored in image form that is, with traditional storage systems and also optical discs.
Through the International Federation of Accountants, it is possible to consult a list of officially recognised accountants and also find possible information on honoraria.